On Saturday morning a group of 14 locals took a tour of the Access Humboldt facility on Eureka High School’s campus and learned about all the media technologies and resources available to members.
Residents may recognize the name Access Humboldt from watching cable channels EDUC8, CIVIC10, AH11, and AH12, its Southern Humboldt cable channel AH7, online archive or radio station KZZH-LP 96.7 FM, but it also serves as a place where paying members — $25 a year — can rent video or audio recording equipment, use editing software and rent the studio to create their own original content that may end up on the Access Humboldt airwaves or archive.
“The members can come in and use the facility once they’re trained,” Access Humboldt facility and training coordinator Matt Knight said.
Training on Saturday morning was a cursory orientation of the facility and what’s on offer but later that afternoon a more in-depth orientation about the studio that once completed allows members to use to professional quality studio and engineering room for creating original content. These basic orientations occur every second Saturday of the month and are followed that same afternoon by either the studio course or a field course that once completed allows members to rent audio or visual kits to take outside the facility.
“We want to make it easy for people to make non-commercial content for themselves and also for us,” Knight said.
Access Humboldt is always looking for more content to broadcast or archive, he said.
“We really do want it,” Knight said.
Video and audio kits come with everything one needs to record in the field and renting them costs $5 per day, $10 for three days and $20 for a week. Membership is open to everyone that lives in Humboldt County.
“We also do work-trade if payment is an issue,” Access Humboldt executive director Sean McLaughlin said about the membership fee.
McLaughlin led the orientation as he took the group through the studio complete with a green screen, stage platforms, lighting and three cameras, the studio control room and the editing computer lab.
“We have two more stations over here and a member using our service,” he said.
As the orientation group listened to McLaughlin speak about rules for using the editing computers and what software is offered they surrounded two Access Humboldt members who were using a editing station for a video project of dance recitals.
“Basically this is up to local residents, that they want to present,” McLaughlin said.
“There’s a real mix, often it will be lectures. For example, right now there’s a meeting with the district attorney on,” Knight said when asked what’s the most common type of programing submitted to Access Humboldt.
But there are some limits. There can’t be copyright violations in the programming and it can’t be vulgar, McLaughlin said, but if the program contains adult content it can still air but late at night.
Near the end of the orientation he asked the group to talk about why this event piqued their interest. Some were creators who wanted to see what resources are on offer, some had ideas for their work and others just had ideas for content. Eureka resident Caroline Griffith was part of that later group.
“I’m generally a sucker for community media and the people’s voice,” she said.
Griffith said she has a concept for a talk show with her sister.
“It’d kind of be like an irreverent current events talk show,” she said.
More information is available at accesshumboldt.net or by calling 707-476-1798.
Hunter Cresswell can be reached at 707-441-0506.